Thank you all for your ideas. Most I've tried. I'm at the bottom of the barrel of tricks which is why it's time to push for all the evaluations. The two big girls have been home more than three years now. Blossom has an accurate diagnosis. Lately, she's been doing her best! It's great! Now, it's time to focus on Sissy.
I know I've mentioned it before, but my girls don't have any friends. Oh, everyone at church is friendly enough. Blossom can always find a little girl to hang out with at a park or ice skating and she believes they are friends even though she'll never see them again. Jie Jie still doesn't have any need or desire for a friend. Sissy doesn't seem to either and the one best friend she has, who was her "sister" and roommate all through her life in China, she ignores (more on this later). When I observe Sissy from afar with her peer group, she is nearby with a goofy grin on her face or staring off into space like she often does. Sometimes the girls will draw her in, but the only time she begins to talk with any of the girls on her own is when she sees me watching her. Then, she goes up to them but still doesn't say anything.
At youth group activities, Sissy runs in with eagerness. She participates, but only in the actual activity. She doesn't have any by-play with any of the other girls, no side-line chit chat. She doesn't even think about the girls when she's not at the activity. She doesn't ask them anything, doesn't ask what what they are doing, and she doesn't ask me anything about them and what they are doing when we're alone. No curiosity. She doesn't even seem to realize that she should be trying to find out what she's missing.
Sissy's best friend from China underwent a bone marrow transplant over the summer - 6 months away from home (her mom was with her) and much of that time spent in the hospital suffering. I explained to Sissy what was going on. I counted down the days to the actual transplant with much excitement, hope, and prayer with all my girls. In the ENTIRE 6 months, even when her friend was suffering the most and at most risk, Sissy NEVER, not ever even once, asked how her friend was doing. I got her to send one letter with a gift. I was devastated. This friend has sent Sissy numerous letters and packages. She's even come for a visit. I reached a point where I told Sissy that I wasn't going to keep her updated any more and that if she wanted to know how her friend was doing she can always ask me. I kept to that until her friend was in the most rough time of it and then let Sissy know that her friend was hurting and was very sick. Still, no concern and no asking how she was doing.
She doesn't have any interests. Well, that's not quite accurate either. Here's the reality. If it was left up to her, she'd sit and do nothing all day long, or play on QQ all day, not understanding half of it.
I taught her to sew. She can make her hands do very well, but it was VERY hard to teach her what to do with them. I showed her numerous times (the same project). I had her write down the steps in her own words and pictures. She did a TERRIBLE job and didn't follow them. I wrote them down. She still couldn't follow them. She couldn't follow by looking at the sample either. Eventually, though, honestly, after about 20+ dedicated lessons on the EXACT same simple project, she memorized how to do it and could do it on her own. I gave her books and videos and Youtube sites to look at along with a pile of fabric. She had the machine and a room to herself for an entire day to make anything she wanted to or could. She made another of the SAME thing, but with poor dimensions so it didn't turn out at all. She didn't even realize it didn't turn out. She says she likes to sew and wants to sew, but she never sews. She never asks to sew. It like it never happened that she ever did sew.
She was helping in my daycare with one baby, under close supervision. Her hands can change a diaper - when I tell her to. I thought she'd learned on her baby sister WHEN to change a baby, but she didn't. What she'd done was memorize that I told her to change her sister's diaper when she got her out of the crib after her nap. I had to keep telling her to change the daycare baby. Finally, I did it, then let her keep an eye on the baby. I came in a moment later and Sissy proudly announced that she'd changed the baby's diaper. I asked if the baby had pooped. Sissy said no. I asked if the baby had wet. Sissy looked confused. I told her that I'd just finished changing the baby and asked her to get the diaper she'd removed. The diaper was dry. I asked Sissy why she changed the baby. She answered, "Because you told me I had to change the baby." She couldn't put it together that the reason I told her to change the baby was because the baby was wet. So, I explained about wasting diapers and that we didn't change a baby unless it was wet or stinky.
The other day after Apple got back into her stroller after using the restroom, I noticed that Sissy never gave her back her doll. I asked Sissy why. Sissy looked confused. I asked her again why she didn't give Apple her doll. Sissy said, "Because I decided that." So I asked, "You thought about giving Apple back her doll then decided not to?" She said, "No, I didn't think that." I asked, "Did you think about giving back the doll at all?" Sissy's answer, "No." Then I asked, "Did you think about the doll at all?" Her answer, "No." Me, "Did you notice that Apple got into the stroller?" Sissy, "No." What I noticed was that Sissy hadn't moved any part of her body from head to toe during the time I was in the restroom with Apple, even when I sent Apple out ahead of me. Apple could have walked out of the restroom and walked away and Sissy, who was standing right there, would not have noticed. She isn't present much of the time.
Silvia, your question is a good one. Have I had any training to help talk with Sissy. Yes. Our speech therapists have been great at giving me ideas and I hope to get more with Sissy's new speech therapist. Any conversations I have with Sissy include VERY, VERY, VERY long periods of silence where she's either lost or trying to figure out what she should say or what I'm saying. Sometimes she'll admit she doesn't understand what I'm talking about. Other times, she feels she does understand because she can parrot it back to me. Recently, I pointed out to her that being able to repeat something back to me doesn't mean she's understanding it. She was quite surprised and didn't seem to believe me. I have had the exact conversation with her about living outside that you've suggested. What will you eat? Where will you sleep? How will you buy clothes? Bathe? Take care of your period? Stay warm? Etc.... She can't answer any of these questions. She goes silent and blank, not with sullenness, but with lack of understanding.
Goodiego, I've tried your suggestions too, from the very beginning. We watched The Brady Bunch, Little House on the Prairie, American Girl movies, tons of movies about girls dealing with adversity and winning through faith or with a horse or best friend, etc... I still can't get my three older girls to understand that movies are played by actors and actresses and it's not real life. I confounded them today when I told them that the girls in the latest American Girls movie aren't sisters in real life and that the smaller girl is actually a year older than the taller girl. We have two different emotion posters, done the mirror thing and so much more.
Peggy, you are very right about them being scared of the future. Blossom copes by wanting to be prepared and talking too much about it. That's quite easy to handle, though, because she is, at least, acknowledging that she has a future. I think Sissy is scared, too, and she finally admitted that she doesn't want to do any work, that she wishes people didn't need money to get things. Yay! At last, some truth! But, as Sara mentioned, one reaches an age where they have to join the world and contribute and that time is fast approaching. Sissy is making little to no progress in areas where it matters the most. At this rate, SHE won't ever be ready, but that's too bad. She has to do something - anything - and stop doing nothing.
Sara, you echoed my own thoughts from last year. Sissy just doesn't take any initiative unless it's a memorized action, such as taking out the garbage every week without being told. She knows she has to do it so it looks like she's really with it. Really, what American mom can brag that their kid remembers trash day every week? I can. But I'd gladly trade that for a kid who can THINK. To get Sissy to explore ANYTHING requires it be fun or that I force her. She doesn't seem to have a need to feel complete or to achieve. She's so empty inside. She's like an android that does the required program then shuts down until another program is given. It's the weirdest, most unnatural thing I've ever seen. It's like she's just existing, taking up space, breathing, much of the time. I've never seen such a blank person in my life. Even children with autism or other disorder who "go away" are moving. Sissy doesn't even move very much. And when she does move, she moves with extreme slowness. When I urge her on, it's like flipping a switch, almost startling her.
Here's a list I've compiled about her after careful, diligent observation while reading the book Hold Onto Your Kids in the section on maturity. Sissy has:
No creative solitude
No desire to figure things out for herself
No pride in being self-sufficient
No ability to reflect, ponder or question inner experiences
No aspirations AT ALL
and, Does not respect or even notice the needs of others
Her eyes are open but she doesn't see is a good description of her most of the time.
I realize as I type all of this that I am still not conveying what Sissy is really like. Maybe if I could, I'd understand her better, which is my deepest desire as her mother. Maybe there's a lot going on inside her that she can't express. I can't tell. She has very little affect most of the time. I am hoping and praying that the evaluations reveal something we can use to help her.